A “sustained” cyber attack took place on Friday night, with hackers attempting to use “brute force” to identify 90 MPs passwords. Officials were forced to disable remote access to MPs, peers and their staff as a result. The “determined attack” took place on all user accounts, according to officials, “in an attempt to identify weak passwords”. The National Cyber Security Centre is investigating.
According to the Telegraph, the attack took place over a period of 12 hours. It is believed that blackmail could be a motive, as well as the potential risk of espionage or terrorism.
Passwords Being Sold Online
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox commented: “We have seen reports in the last few days of even Cabinet ministers’ passwords being for sale online. We know that our public services are attacked so it is not at all surprising that there should be an attempt to hack into parliamentary emails.”
“And it’s a warning to everybody, whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere, that they need to do everything possible to maintain their own cyber security.”
Password Security Best Practice
How can you stay safe online? First, it’s essential to change your password regularly. Never use the same password on multiple sites: if one of them is compromised then it will put all of the rest of your data at risk. Don’t ever use the same passwords at work as at home. Security experts recommend a password manager program to store your passwords. With such software, you can use one password, but the software generates random passwords to be sent to the websites themselves.
- Never use a password that can be guessed – kids’ names name, your date of birth or town of birth are definite no-nos
- Never share your password with anyone – even your IT department
- Make sure your password is at least ten characters long
- Use at least one uppercase character and one symbol (!@£$%^&*)